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The term combat ban refers to policies that prohibit women from assignment to military units whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground. While there are many historical examples of women fighting in wars and standing beside men, for centuries, the military has been an all-male institution. Most often, women joined or were recruited during wartime to help fill different positions, from secretaries and nurses to bomber pilots and snipers. Although many states have erased all legal obstacles to allow women’s participation in combat, most continue to impede it by setting limitations to women’s equal access to positions that would expose them to direct enemy fire, the possibility of physical contact, and the risk of capture. Since the end of World ...

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